By SHERI GASSAWAY
Festus, MO – A beloved holiday attraction here got a fresh look thanks to three volunteers from Painters Local 1199.
The Festus Santa House, located at Schneider Park at the corner of Main and Mill streets, attracts hundreds of families each year and gives children the opportunity to visit with jolly old St. Nick over hot chocolate.
In 2015, state Rep. Becky Ruth (R-Festus), reached out to the Jefferson County Labor Club to help build the 12-foot by 12-foot house and members donated their time and materials for the project.
But after five years, the house needed a fresh coat of paint. Ruth, a friend of Labor, once again called on the Labor club for assistance. Painters Local 1199 Business Representative Shawn Oster, a member of the club’s executive board, answered the call.
HAPPY TO HELP
“I was able to recruit two Local 1199 members – Pat McClenahan and Kyle Armstrong – and they were happy to help with the project,” Oster said. “We were able to get it done in two days.”
Ruth worked with city officials to organize the project and paid for the supplies to get the job done. But six days after the work was completed, Festus canceled the Santa House and its winter festival because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County.
DROP OFF LETTERS FOR SANTA
Even though the house won’t be open, city officials are still encouraging families to stop by and use it and other nearby decorations as a backdrop for photos. Additionally, the city has installed a mailbox at the house where children can drop off photos and letters for Santa.
Santa will open his mail on the first three Fridays in December and share the letters and pictures with all who are watching on the City’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/channel/UClhVn-uv-0XgW0xQrDGA7DA.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, visit cityoffestus.org or call Festus City Hall at 636-937-4694.